China’s Xi warns against trade war ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration.

He stressed the importance of world trade amid growing fears of America putting up import barriers to protect its car and other industries.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr Xi said: “We must remain committed to developing free trade and investment…and say no to protectionism.

“Pursing protectionism is just like locking oneself in a dark room.

“While wind and rain may be kept outside, so are life and air.

“No-one will emerge as winner in a trade war.”

He stressed the challenges as well of the benefits of economic globalisation and that the process needed to be made more “invigorated, inclusive and sustainable”.

But he added: “Whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean that you can not escape from.

“Any attempt to cut off loads of capital, technology, products, industries and people between economies and channel the waters in the ocean back into isolated lakes and creeks – this is simply not possible.

“It runs counter to the historical trend.”

President-elect Mr Trump has sparked alarm in Beijing by accusing China of “raping” America by flooding it with cheap imports.

The Republican billionaire also claims Beijing has manipulated China’s currency to boost its exports, fuelling a US trade deficit.

He also angered China by taking a congratulatory telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

Beijing sees Taiwan as part of China.

China’s foreign ministry stressed that the “One China” policy was the foundation of China-US ties was non-negotiable but Mr Trump has cast this into doubt.

Mr Xi, who is leading a Chinese delegation of over 100 officials and scores of business executives, arrived by train in the Alpine ski resort to a red carpet welcome yesterday, to project political stability while drumming up business for China.

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